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British parents can’t keep up with childcare fee hikes

While parents are struggling to make a living, child care costs are rising, the size of centers and kindergartens is decreasing, leaving many families experiencing a cost of living crisis.

On March 22, the annual child care survey report from Coram Family and Child Care published, based on information provided by local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales. Thus, compared to last year, the cost of care increased by 3.5% for children aged 3-4 years and 2.5% for children under two years.

Costs have increased, but the ability to provide childcare services has decreased significantly, as the pandemic has caused many centers and schools to go bankrupt. In particular, less than 60% of companies said there was enough room for children under two, down 12% compared to 2021.

In terms of care outside of working hours (serving families where parents work full time), only 59% of the facilities were met. This figure for 2021 is 68%. Experts say reducing scale and increasing costs will put pressure on family finances, affecting parents’ working time.

Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA

The report also shows that the number of families with access to free childcare rights in the first years of life has decreased significantly, by 38 and 40% for children aged two and three to four, respectively. There are also differences in the cost and scale of services between regions. For example, 25 hours of child care for a child under two in central London (£183.56) is one and a half times higher than in Yorkshire and Humberside (£122.17).

Only a fifth (21%) of districts have adequate services to care for children with special educational needs and disabilities, down from 25% in 2021.

Ellen Broomé, CEO of Coram Family and Childcare, said many low-income parents may be out of work or struggling to make ends meet as child care costs rise, while the size and location of children fall sharply. Vulnerable children are very disadvantaged if they do not attend inclusive education.

“Quality child care services are the foundation of society. This gives parents peace of mind at work and narrows the gap between poor and more affluent children. Children’s life opportunities need to be the focus of financial reports and national goals,” said Ellen.

The UK government insists that the number of child care facilities and centers remains stable. Over the past three years, the UK has invested more than £3.5 billion to provide free child care in the early years of life, including 30 hours a week while parents are working. A government spokesman said the country is also investing millions of dollars in small-scale centers where families can access services quickly and conveniently.

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